1.7 - Surprises and Shocks


Intercultural Contact: Surprises and Shocks


Making a major transition in your life requires some period of time for adjustment to the new circumstances. Even moving to a new city, changing schools or jobs -anything that alters your accustomed patterns of thought and behavior-scan cause some "transition shock," which can be mild or severe depending on the circumstances.

You have probably heard of  "culture shock." The term "culture shock" was coined to describe a specific type of reaction that can occur when people travel abroad or confront ways of life substantially different from their own. Culture shock is caused by the stress of entering and adjusting to an unfamiliar culture. It has been called an "occupational hazard" of travelers and is a well-documented side effect of encountering cultural difference. To some extent, the degree of culture shock experienced varies depending on how different the country is in contrast to your own. Of course, personal factors and your goals for traveling abroad will influence how quickly and appropriately you can "fit in" and, therefore, the level of culture shock you will feel.